Does Netting Really Stop Japanese Beetles?

Japanese beetles are one of the most notorious garden pests. They can destroy plants because they attack in hordes and can chew through entire leaves. They can ravage your garden from its larvae phase and progress to more damage into adulthood.  

Draping netting over plants really stops Japanese beetles from invading your plants. The breathable material won’t cause harm to plants since it allows sunlight and water to seep through. Netting provides a physical barrier to stop Japanese beetles from landing and feasting on plants.

We will discuss plant nettings, how they can protect your plants, and how you should use them in your garden. We will also briefly talk about Japanese beetles, and then I’ll offer a few other suggestions on how you can protect your plants from them. Let’s get started!

How To Use Insect Netting for Japanese Beetles

Insect nettings are protective mesh barriers designed to keep pests away from your plants. They are usually light and breathable enough to allow plants to enjoy good airflow, sunlight, and water. Netting also offers protection against rats, deer, birds, other insects, and even extreme weather conditions.

The first step is to choose the best netting for your plants. Various mesh sizes are available, measured by the number of holes in 1 inch of netting. 50 mesh nettings are usually the most effective type of netting in keeping Japanese beetles away, including other pests that are much smaller.

Install nettings over your plants when you are confident there is no current pest infestation. Otherwise, you risk trapping these pests under the nettings with your plants.

The following instructions detail how to install nettings over your plants:

  1. Lay the nettings in rows over your plants. Make sure there aren’t any gaps through which insects can squeeze.
  2. Anchor the nettings to the ground using rocks or sandbags. You may also opt for netting support hoops for a neater look and keep the nettings from directly touching or potentially damaging your plants.
  3. Check on the nettings regularly. Make sure they’re always in the optimal position to keep pests away.

What Are Japanese Beetles?

Japanese beetles are ravenous pests that can wreak havoc in your garden. They are about ⅜ of an inch long, with metallic green bodies and copper-colored wings. If you inspect their undersides, you will see tiny white tufts under the wings and at the end of the abdomen.

These interesting-looking bugs have hearty appetites and could severely ravage your garden. They aren’t picky eaters and can feast on flowers, shrubs, vegetables, fruits, and plants. 

The Japanese beetle’s favorite meals are:

  • Rose bushes
  • Hibiscus
  • Grapevines
  • Raspberries. 

You’ll know that a swarm of Japanese beetles attacked your plant when you see that the leaves are nothing more than mere skeletons. 

Japanese beetles attack in groups. They will descend on your garden in hoards, making it extremely difficult to eradicate them. Moreover, they hatch in large numbers. Thus, your beautiful garden could host a massive batch of Japanese beetle eggs or larvae. 

Other Ways To Deter a Japanese Beetle Invasion

Aside from installing nettings, you can get rid of Japanese beetles in many other ways. You don’t have to wait for an actual infestation to occur. It is much wiser and easier to prevent them from invading your garden in the first place. 

Here are some of the most effective and safe ways to deter a Japanese beetle invasion:

Insecticide Sprays

You can purchase commercially prepared bug sprays formulated explicitly for Japanese beetles, or you can also make some yourself. What’s good about homemade insecticide sprays is that the ingredients are organic and won’t cause any harm to your plants. 

Here are a few options to consider:

Neem Oil Solution

Neem is a kind of vegetable oil used as a natural pesticide. It is safe for plants and even for your pets. It helps prevent pest infestations, and if you’re already in the middle of one, you can also use it as a form of pest control. Neem oil can kill pests at any stage of development – eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults.

If you wish to prepare neem oil solution, follow these steps:

  1. Prepare 1 gallon of clean water.
  2. Mix in 1 teaspoon of liquid soap. This soap will act as an emulsifier for your neem oil solution.
  3. Add 1-2 tablespoons of pure neem oil to the mixture.
  4. Give your neem oil solution a good shake. The mixture should be murky and light brown.
  5. Transfer some of the solution into your spray bottle.
  6. Spray directly on your plants and the Japanese beetles. Do this weekly if you’re in the middle of an active Japanese beetle infestation.

You may also use neem oil solution as pest prevention maintenance for your plants. Spray every other week to keep pests at bay. Remember never to spray neem oil solution on your plants at noon or anytime that your plants are exposed to direct sunlight. When exposed to harsh light, neem oil can burn your plants’ leaves.

Neem oil solution also works in getting rid of these pests: 

I’ve written an extensive guide about using neem oil to get rid of Japanese beetles. Don’t miss it: How To Use Neem Oil To Get Rid of Japanese Beetles

Pyrethrin Spray

Pyrethrin is a natural insecticide derived from chrysanthemums. It works by attacking an insect’s nervous system, causing paralysis and death. It works almost immediately upon contact, especially for Japanese beetles. 

Pyrethrin insecticidal sprays are available commercially. Make sure to follow instructions on the label because exposure to this substance can cause mild adverse reactions in humans. 

Additionally, they may harm beneficial insects, such as honey bees and ladybugs. Use your pyrethrin spray sparingly and only on specific areas affected by pests. 

Milky Spores

Milky spores, or Paenibacillus papillae, is a substance highly effective with Japanese beetle larvae. Mix it into the soil where beetle larvae will unintentionally eat it. 

Once the beetle ingests the spores, the larvae will die, and their bodily fluids will turn into a milky substance absorbed by the soil. In the process, the beetle releases more milky spores and kills even more Japanese beetle larvae. 

Fruit Cocktail Traps

Fruit cocktail traps are ingenious ways of getting rid of Japanese beetles. They will be attracted to the sweet, pungent scent and will follow it to investigate. They will fall into the water, drown, and die when they find the source. 

Here is how to make a fruit cocktail trap:

  1. Open a can of fruit cocktail.
  2. Leave it out under the sun to ferment for about a week. 
  3. Grab a pail. 
  4. Place about two bricks inside, one on top of the other. 
  5. Place the can of fermented fruit cocktail on the bricks. 
  6. Fill the pail with water until it reaches just below the top of the can.
  7. Place the pail about 25 feet away from the plants infested with Japanese beetles. 

Don’t worry about leaving a pail full of dead Japanese beetles in your garden. The scent and sight of dead beetles can work as a deterrent, too. Japanese beetles tend to shy away from gardens reeking with the smell of their dead comrades.

Companion Plants

There are certain plants that Japanese beetles avoid. Some can make them sick and eventually die. Planting these among the plants that Japanese beetles have infested is a great way to ensure they do not return.

Geraniums, for instance, are not just appealing additions to your garden – they help eliminate Japanese beetles! These ravenous pests are attracted to Geranium flowers, but when they nibble on them, they get dizzy, lose consciousness, and fall off the plant. 

You may then pick them up and drop them into a jar of water mixed with dish soap. This process will exterminate those Japanese beetles for good.

Here are other plants that may shoo away those pesky Japanese beetles:

  • Garlic
  • Lavender
  • Mirabilis
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Sage.

The Hands-On Approach

Another safe way to eliminate Japanese beetles from your garden is to remove each of them by hand. Simply brush them off your plants’ leaves straight into a jar filled with water and dish soap. The beetles will drown and die. 

Do this every day for at least a month or until you no longer see Japanese beetles in your garden. Japanese beetle infestations usually last a month or so. Remember that they feed in groups, so inspecting your plants from the topmost leaves to the bottom of the stem is best.

Other Interesting Facts About Japanese Beetles

It is essential to gather as much information as possible about Japanese beetles before deciding on the best mode of attack. For instance, using nettings is one of the most effective ways to keep them at bay, but you should also know when best to install these over your plants. Getting to know the enemy is one of the best lines of defense.

Here are a few facts that may come in handy:

  • Japanese beetles love warm and sunny days. They usually prefer plants that live under direct sunlight.
  • Infestations usually begin in the early summer. Summer is when Japanese beetles emerge from the ground, where they have hatched as eggs and grown into larvae and pupae.
  • Adult Japanese beetles live for only about two months. They use this short period to eat as much as possible and lay their eggs to ensure the survival of the next generations. 
  • They are most active in the early evenings. Japanese beetles prefer to feast on plants at this time.
  • Adult female Japanese beetles can lay about 40-60 eggs in their lifetime. The female lays the eggs under the soil, which hatch into larvae and then feed on roots and organic matter. 

Final Thoughts

Getting rid of Japanese beetles is tricky because they can cause damage to your garden in practically all stages of their lives. The key is to employ tactics that work best for your plants. Insect nettings are excellent options and will work best when used hand in hand with other more aggressive measures.

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

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